It’s time to put UH smokers’ fire out
Forty-three colleges and universities are completely smoke-free, and more than 200 colleges and universities now have smoke-free residential housing, according to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.
The University of Houston bans smoking in all residential areas, but this policy still allows people to smoke in areas where students consistently walk between classes. This forces many students to inhale smoke involuntarily and is simply unacceptable. Smoking should be off limits on campus.
Approximately 31 percent of college students smoke, while only 25 percent of the general public does, www.physorg.com reported. It is unfortunate that even with the enormous amount of information available people still choose to expose their lungs to as many as 4,000 chemicals, many of which are highly toxic and can cause cancer.
It is even more troubling that many public places allow these poor decisions to affect individuals who do care about their health. People who smoke on campus are not only ruining their own health, they are negatively impacting the health of many other students as well.
There is no point to banning smoking in residential areas when people still have to pass through smoke on their way to and from class. Holding one’s breath while passing people who stand around campus, huffing and puffing smoke into air that is already contaminated, is aggravating, but many times is the only way to avoid inhaling it. If people want to put their own health at risk they have every right to, but they should be forced to do so before they arrive on, or after they leave, campus. People who believe that a smoking ban would infringe on their personal rights need to realize that their right to ruin their lungs ends at the point where they begin to harm the health of others.
Most people would agree that the average smoker does not intend to harm others by smoking, but it does not change the fact that they still do so. Research has shown that secondhand smoke can linger in the air hours after cigarettes have been put out.
Although the negative effects of smoking are well known by most people, many public places, such as UH, continue to let people light up their cigarettes, which sends the message that they care more about not offending smokers than improving the overall health conditions of the University.
If UH banned smoking on campus, many students would probably be furious, but UH would, in fact, be doing them a favor. Making it difficult for smokers to find safe havens to continue smoking would encourage them to kick the habit all together.
Hawkins, a communication junior, can be reached via [email protected]